On Thursday, the Supreme Court granted bail to film actress Kannada Ragini Dwivedi in the Sandalwood drug case, who has been in custody for four and a half months.
Senior lawyer Sidharth Luthra, representing Dwivedi, argued before a bench led by Judge RF Nariman that nothing was recovered from his client during the searches carried out.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the government of Karnataka, argued that the substance was not for personal use, but that Ragini Dwivedi arranged it for rave parties. Mehta insisted that there is a likelihood of tampering with evidence and that the court may consider denying bail at least until the charge sheet is filed in the case.
The bench also comprising Justices Navin Sinha and KM Joseph after a brief hearing on the case, granted bail to Dwivedi, who had been in detention since September 4 last year. Granting the bail, the court said, on the face of it, that only small amounts of drugs were involved and therefore section 37 of the NDPS Act was not attracted.
Ragini Dwivedi’s plea filed through official lawyer Sahil Bhalaik said the prosecution had concocted a bogus case against her to get public attention. Bhalaik said that although the state government claimed she was part of the drug racket, there was nothing to show about the hosting and funding of the case.
The plea argued that it is remarkable that Ragini was charged and that she was arrested on the statement of a co-accused in the case.
Dwivedi argued that the only one on the basis of a false statement extracted by the police, she was involved and became the victim of a media lawsuit.
Dwivedi filed a petition for special leave in the superior court to challenge the Nov. 3 order of the Karnataka High Court, which refused to grant him redress along with another defendant Sanjjanaa Galrani in the case. The duo were arrested by the Bengaluru Police Central Police in September this year.
Ragini was arrested on September 4 and Sanjana on September 8 under various provisions of the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 (NDPS) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for allegedly consuming and supplying prohibited drugs during of parties and events organized in the city. over the past two years. All the defendants are held in the central prison on the outskirts of the southern suburbs of the city.
On September 28, the trial court dismissed their bail requests on the grounds that they could influence the other defendants and hamper the investigation of the drug scam.
The NDPS special tribunal also refused to grant bail to the two actors on the same day (September 28).
City police launched a crackdown on the use of banned drugs in the sandalwood industry in August last week after Kannada film producer Inderjit Lankesh alleged that a dozen actors were on drugs and that there was a link between them and the drug mafias. Besides Ragini and Sanjana, 20 drug traffickers, party organizers and their associates have been arrested and jailed pending investigation.
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